"When I called Lang the other day, he recalled going to seminars in D.C. a few years ago with "all these political science guys and think tankers" who would repeat the mantra of the moment: "Assad must go."
"I would ask at these conferences, 'What if he doesn't go? What if they fight their way through this?'" Lang recalled. "They'd say, 'Oh it's not gonna happen. He's gonna go. He's a terrible man. There's no support for him.'"
In fact there was plenty of support from the minority Christians, Alawites and Shia Muslims who feared they'd be slaughtered by Sunni jihadis if the government fell – not an unrealistic fear given the actions of ISIS in the parts of Iraq and Syria it controlled.
By the time the 2016 campaign got going it was obvious to anyone paying attention that the strategy of regime change should have died with the Bush 43 administration. Yet the Republican who aspired to be Bush 45 was still backing regime change, as was the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
They were the establishment favorites. But The Donald outraged the establishment by coming out against the idea of toppling secular dictators.
The big question was whether President Trump was going to be seduced by the Beltway crowd into reneging on his promise." Mulshine
This article says it all. pl